This week I interviewed witchy wonder woman, spiritual reader and founder of Stella Divination Naomi Stella over zoom. What an absolute diamond she was.
I spoke with Naomi about what it was like being raised Catholic, her thoughts on “Instagram Witches” and her most magical Tarot experience to date.
Can you tell us briefly about you and your magical practice?
I grew up in a very Catholic family where witchcraft was a very taboo thing to even look at when I was around my parents. They were the kind of people who thought witches and Wiccans worship Satan. But as I grew older and especially to go alongside my mental health (because I had some issues with that) I wanted a more spiritual life. I really didn’t connect with the Christian side of anything. So first I looked into Buddhism but it wasn’t for me. I found Wicca and witchcraft through Amino, have you heard of them?
It’s a platform that’s kind of like a blog and a social network as well. I found this Pagan section of it and that was it – I never turned back. I carried on learning about Divination because that’s what I’m drawn to and then Moonology. That’s where my heart lies. I just love it!
I’m really interested in what you said about being raised Catholic. I’ve seen on Instagram a few American witches who are practicing Christians and witches. What are your thoughts on intertwining witchcraft with religion?
I love that. When I say I was raised Catholic I was very much forced into very, very, old fashioned Catholic ways to the point where I don’t actually speak to my parents anymore – and it’s not to do with Wicca or witchcraft but their views were just so different on the world to mine that we just don’t talk anymore. I love the fact that there are Christian spiritualists who are witches. It must be really nice to have so much faith in not only the universe but that there’s something higher than that too.
What does the word “witch” mean to you?
I felt absolutely ridiculous the first time I used the word witch. I felt imposter syndrome but now I’m more educated it feels natural to me. I still don’t think I’d ever introduce myself to a friend’s boyfriend as “Hi, I’m Naomi and I’m a witch”. Like I never would. Just because of the bad rep that that word has. Straight away people are thinking Harry Potter.
So, would it be fair to say that “witch” is a word that you use but you’re still quite selective about who you would introduce yourself to as a witch?
Yeah. I use it with the right company and the right community.
Is that because even now there’s still taboo and lots of people might just assume that you’re a bit odd if you say you’re a witch?
Quite often in my message requests I get people asking, “Can you please put a curse on this person?” And you’re just kind of taken back. I think, “Really? Is that what you think of me?” But if people aren’t educated about witchcraft it’s going to continue to be seen as a dark thing and it’s just not. It’s totally the opposite.
How do you feel about going public with your practice or do you prefer to keep it secret?
I think that secrecy isn’t a bad thing but you shouldn’t feel like you have to live in secrecy. So many people that message me ask me “How can I do a spell without my parents finding out?” And I understand that parents might have differing opinions but it shouldn’t be like that. Witchcraft is just a way of life. It really isn’t harming anybody. I think that you shouldn’t push witchcraft on people standing in the street but you should be able to be open about it. It’s really only in the last few months that I’ve come out of the broom closet to my friends. And I was really nervous about it but no one really cared. It was relaxed. It was nice.
Are there any parts of the craft that you don’t like so much?
I’m really not drawn at all to green witchcraft. I try to dabble in everything because it all interests me so much. I bought these little flower pots from the supermarket and they’re actually growing for the first time because usually all my plants just die! But green witchcraft is something I really can’t connect with.
Is there a political edge to your witchcraft or is it purely religious for you?
Not at all political for me. I’m not really into politics anyway. I would always personally keep politics very separate because witchcraft is such an intimate and personal thing.
You have a strong following on social media which I find incredibly inspiring. However some witches are skeptical of social media. I’ve definitely witnessed backlash towards “Instagram Witches”. What’s your opinion on that?
There are always going to be people who will find something wrong with what you do. I’ve had a few people say that witchcraft shouldn’t be on Instagram or YouTube and if they want to keep it private then that’s okay, I totally agree with them. Personally, when I do show anything, like with spells, I’ve always said I’ll show you how to do it but I’m not doing it on camera because in my opinion it’s disrespectful to the spirits and the energies. It would be the same with any religion. If you put it online people would probably question what your motives were. My Instagram actually started out as my virtual Book of Shadows just so I could save a few things but then it just grew and grew. There’s been a few people I’ve connected with over social networking that have really helped guide me. They are always the people I go back to if I need any help or advise. Just connecting with everyone on Instagram… Like everyone influences me because everyone’s so different. It’s really interesting to see.
You’ve previously referred to witchcraft as a religion, can you talk about that a bit more because I know not everyone sees it that way.
First of all I think that’s probably a habit having grown up with religion everywhere. I personally really connect with Wicca. Not every Wiccans a witch and not every witch is a Wiccan. But for me they both really do come in a package which is why I normally say religion.
What does it mean to you to be a Wiccan?
I always had a very narrow straightforward path and then as soon as I discovered Wicca I just noticed all these things around me. And the spiritual side of it has helped me through difficult times and that’s kind of what it personally means to me – that it’s helped me through those times. I just find Wicca really positive and the community too is so amazing.
And what was it like as a witch growing up in Newcastle?
I actually grew up everywhere. My dad was in the army so I grew up in Germany, Newzealand, Hull and then Newcastle. I’ve been back here for about eight years now. There are lots of shops that I go to for Divination tools but witchcraft is not something that is shouted about here. I only found people nearby once I started joining facebook groups. There’s a magazine up here called Pagans Of The North which I wrote an article for this week. It’s just so good that social media gives you the option to find people near you.
How important do you think it is to be part of a witch community?
I’m a solitary witch but I don’t think I would have got this far without the community. I’m quite an introvert so I know that quite a lot of people wouldn’t like to be part of a community because I know that I didn’t at first either. But it is nice to connect with likeminded people, to hear their views on things and compare them to your own. You do make fast friends because witchcraft is such an intimate thing. Once you start talking to someone you feel like you’ve known them all your life.
As a professional Tarot card reader do you have any tips for someone who’s just getting started?
Reading books about Tarot is great but I also think it’s really important not to become an armchair witch. You might find yourself just reading and not actually putting Tarot into practice, which is fine if that’s what you want to do but I think it’s easy to fall into that trap. The way I remember cards is to make it personal. Think of a personal story for each card with keywords because then it will be easier to remember than trying to remember someone else’s keywords.
Any favourite Tarot stories to share?
There’s actually been a time recently, and it’s never happened before, where someone’s relative, not their name but their grandad just came into my head so vividly. I said to her, “this is not what I’ve trained in, like this isn’t what I do, but I have to tell you what came into my head”. It turns out she’d been asking her grandad who had passed away to give her a sign and to give her some advice on a situation she was in, and that kind of dumbstruck me. That was the most magical moment I’ve had yet. I could really feel the message being channeled through me.
I know you’ve got children Naomi, do you mind me asking has being a mum impacted your craft?
Not really, no. Leila, my older one, is really interested in it. She loves crystals but it’s not something I would ever push on them. It is something I’ll educate them both in just like I would with any other way of life. But they don’t touch anything, they’re quite well behaved.
And your partner, what’s his take on your witchcraft?
He kind of stays out of it because he knows that he’ll put his foot in it. He is supportive and he doesn’t mean anything but he’s very scientific. We do just have very different views on the world and we respect each other’s views but we don’t share… as in I don’t share my craft with him but he does take an interest in it. The advice I’d give is do not push witchcraft on your partner but also don’t hide it because then you’re not with the right person. If they can’t respect a part of your life that is that big then… well they just should really. It’s all about respect, it’s not about making them believe in it. It just has to be respected.
We’re going to rap things up now Naomi, are there any resources that you’d recommend or advice you’d offer to somebody who was new to witchcraft and maybe felt a bit nervous?
Harmony Nice is amazing. The book that she wrote Wicca breaks down the basics of Wicca and it’s really easy to read. Shop wise… I spend all my money at The Psychic Tree. The Holistic Shop as well. They’ve been really great in this pandemic at still getting things out and not letting it affect their business. And advice… Start slow because you’re going to want to go out and buy everything and start doing the big stuff but that’s not going to feel natural. You have to build up to that. In regards to buying things you are the most important thing, your intuition and your intent, so you can make do with what you’ve got until you can get the other things. And with spells, if you’re not comfortable I always say sing them because that way no one will ever know you’re reciting a spell, say if you’re living with people who you don’t want to know. I would just say… Don’t rush because you’ve got all the time in the world. You’re never going to stop learning about witchcraft so just enjoy it.
I think your energy is beautiful. You come across as down to earth, approachable and deeply committed to your craft. One final question. How can Brit Witch readers connect with you and find out more information about Stella Divination?
Thank you Naomi Stella. You are an inspiration.